Susto “& I’m Fine Today” (Rootsy Nu, 2017)

Charleston, South Carolina-based Susto embrace numerous genres as their music and lyrics dive headlong into the mind of the listener, their new album “I’m Fine Today” following their 2014 self-titled debut. Possessing an addictive draw, the band are fronted by lead vocalist Justin Osborne and guitarist, and songwriter Johnny Delaware, and are aided by Corey Campbell (guitar, bass, keys, backing vocals), Jordan Hicks (bass) and Marshall Hudson and Wolfgang Zimmerman (drums, percussion). Continue reading “Susto “& I’m Fine Today” (Rootsy Nu, 2017)”

Jesse Terry “Stargazer” (Jackson Beach Records 2017)

Jesse Terry  has lived a life even though he is still a young man. A teenage runaway he endured a difficult time which has certainly inspired his song writing although this album is no downbeat affair and is generally uplifting. The opener and title track Stargazer is an optimistic piece about facing your own fears and the world generally. Lushly orchestrated this has pleasing harmony and soaring chords. A US citizen, Terry is aware of the divisions in American society and sings of them but remains hopeful. His website carries a nice quote which is worth repating here: “I think I will always be innately hopeful, because I’ve seen how much life can change…and I’ve seen how much people can change, if they open up and allow themselves to do so.” Continue reading “Jesse Terry “Stargazer” (Jackson Beach Records 2017)”

Gill Landry “Love rides a dark horse” (Loose Music, 2017)

Gill Landry had it all – he was in the Old Crow Medicine Show, had just won his second Grammy with that band, and moreover he was in love – not just in love but all set to be married. Feeling a need to move on musically he decided to go solo, recorded an album and hit the road with it. And then the bottom fell out of his world – the girl left, heartache moved in and seemed to have settled down to stay. The songs on this new album reflect this turn of fortune’s wheel – and also acted as a form of therapy for those bruised emotions. Continue reading “Gill Landry “Love rides a dark horse” (Loose Music, 2017)”

Terry Kitchen “The Quiet Places” (Independent, 2017)

Terry Kitchen is a decidedly old-fashioned, storytelling folkie. He’s been plying his trade around New England for a quarter of century, so it’s safe to say he should know what he’s doing by now. Well-written, poignant and sometimes witty songs are delivered with confidence, backed by a handful of musicians adding dobro, trumpet and mandolin with fitting subtlety. Continue reading “Terry Kitchen “The Quiet Places” (Independent, 2017)”

The Fremonts “We Don’t Live There” (Independent, 2017)

Boulder, Colorado based The Fremonts, Stephanie Dodd (originally from Fremont, Nebraska) and Justin Badger (originally from Fremont California) utilise alt-country folk, indie pop and a hint of new grass to serve up a series of artistically grounded tunes (all written by them). The duos have tight harmonies and probing arrangements as Badger (guitar), Dodd (piano, accordion, toy Glockenspiel) are joined by guest musicians Maggie Gibson, Matt Kubis (banjo), Zak Kopeikin (bass), Cameron Mannix (drums), Braden Olsen, Alexander (fiddle), Chris Tucker (organ) plus on songs, Tillman’s Wall and Joanne by members of the Ars Nova Singers & Friends. Continue reading “The Fremonts “We Don’t Live There” (Independent, 2017)”

May Erlewine “Mother Lion” (Independent, 2017)

34 year old May Erlewine is from Big Rapids, Michigan who remarkably has over 15 albums of original work to her name since the beginning of her career which was in the early 2000s although on occasion she has released work under the name of Daisy May. An undoubted talent she is a multi-instrumentalist as well as a singer and has had her songs covered by many other artists. This has the feel of a coming of age album and indeed it has garnered praise from many quarters including Ricky Ross who has played a number of tracks on his Another Country programme on BBC Radio Scotland. Continue reading “May Erlewine “Mother Lion” (Independent, 2017)”

Various “Sonic Blooms: UK Alt-Folk and New Roots Rising” (Folk and Honey 2017)

Folk and Honey, the leading UK gig listing website, is behind this compendium of emerging UK folk and roots talent and, as per the website’s MO for providing a platform for new artists that deserve an audience, the purpose of this double album is much the same. The first of what is billed as an annual venture showcasing a carousel of different sub-genres, Sonic Blooms is a particularly interesting offering that hits the target far more frequently than it misses (if indeed the weaker offerings herein can even be considered ‘misses’). Continue reading “Various “Sonic Blooms: UK Alt-Folk and New Roots Rising” (Folk and Honey 2017)”

Sunfields “Mono, Mono” (Exit Sign Music 2017)

Hailing from Montreal Sunfields is a group of four although their undoubted leader is Jason Kent who wrote all eleven songs on this album which is credited as being produced by the whole band. An antidote to the winter blues and dare it be suggested those who may not wholly take on board the Christmas spirit this is an uplifting and fun piece of work full of jangly guitars and addictive harmonies. Continue reading “Sunfields “Mono, Mono” (Exit Sign Music 2017)”

Rebecca Clamp & Hans Wessels “Lit Up with Sorrow” (Folkwit Records, 2017)

Rebecca Clamp – here collaborating with her partner Hans Wessels – writes songs that are like three minute windows into her life, with subject matters relating to her feelings in a particular instant, summaries of conversations at cross-purposes, pencil sketches of friendships and relationships. Her unrhyming verse is accompanied by knowingly quirky arrangements leaning predominantly on piano and ukulele and expanded with splashes of electronica.  Continue reading “Rebecca Clamp & Hans Wessels “Lit Up with Sorrow” (Folkwit Records, 2017)”

Richard Warren “Disentangled” (Hudson, 2017)

Those of you familiar with Richard Warren’s previous solo records will know what to expect from this fourth album – Disentangled.  You won’t be disappointed either. Sounding like a stoner/psychedelic happening featuring Duane Eddy on guitar and Richard Hawley on vocals; it’s equal parts weird, hypnotic and excellent. Welcome to the fertile outer edges of Americana. Continue reading “Richard Warren “Disentangled” (Hudson, 2017)”